New Hampshire takeaways: Trump’s path becomes clearer. So does the prospect of a rematch with Biden

Jan 23, 2024, 6:13 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — This time, New Hampshire didn’t surprise.

Instead, its famously fickle voters stuck to the script of delivering a ringing ratification of the front-runner, Donald Trump, the former president. His victory over a defiant Nikki Haley cemented his hold on core Republican voters and substantially reduced the chances of any challenger overtaking him.

Never before has a presidential candidate won the first two contests on the primary nomination calendar — as Trump has now done — and failed to emerge as the party’s general election nominee, substantially increasing the already quite likely prospect of a rematch between him and President Joe Biden.

Even so, there were signs of restiveness among voters for both men. Here are some key takeaways from Tuesday’s New Hampshire Primary.


New Hampshire seemed like a state that Trump could lose.

The state’s moderate tradition, the participation of independents, a huge advertising disparity and even a popular governor were all working against the former president.

He overcame all of that, somewhat easily, putting himself on a glide path to a third consecutive Republican presidential nomination that can likely be stopped at this point only by an unprecedented collapse or unforeseen external circumstances.

His base, immovable so far, has given him a structural advantage that few non-incumbents have ever had. He doesn’t need to persuade any new voters to win the nomination, he simply needs to ensure his people turn out. According to AP VoteCast, only about half of New Hampshire Republican voters identify with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement. And about half disagree with Trump’s big lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

He won anyway.


Trump may be unstoppable in the primary campaign, but Tuesday’s vote offered evidence that he may have a more difficult time in the general election this fall.

Trump did not carry key groups of swing voters. Haley beat Trump among primary voters who identify as moderates, as well as independents. She also beat Trump among those with a college degree. And about half of New Hampshire Republican primary voters are very or somewhat concerned that Trump is too extreme to win the general election, according to AP VoteCast. Only about one-third say the same about Haley.

A significant number of voters in the Republican primary — about 4 in 10 — also believe that Trump broke the law either in his alleged attempt to interfere in the vote count in the 2020 presidential election, his role in what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, or the classified documents found at his Florida home after he left the White House.

Such legal troubles helped unify core Republican voters behind his candidacy in recent months, but it’s hard to imagine those issues will be an asset with the much broader set of general election voters.

Trump is facing 91 felony counts across four criminal trials. And his court schedule is set up to ensure that voters won’t be able to forget about the legal drama, even if they want to. The federal trial over Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election is tentatively set to begin March 4, the day before Super Tuesday.


Haley’s loss represents a significant defeat for anti-Trump forces that still exist within the Republican Party.

They finally got the head-to-head contest they had long been calling for. And it wasn’t enough.

Still, Haley strongly suggested she would stay in the race until at least her home state primary in South Carolina on Feb. 24.

“New Hampshire is first in the nation, it’s not last in the nation. This race is far from over,” Haley told cheering supporters in Concord.

Haley’s team was quick to note that roughly 5 in 10 primary voters do not support Trump. Her advisers insist she will stay in the race to serve as a vehicle for those anti-Trump forces who are still hoping he might be forced out of the race by his legal problems, or perhaps a health emergency.

And at least for now, the 52-year-old former South Carolina governor still has math and donors on her side.

Trump cannot mathematically secure the delegate majority he needs to become the presumptive nominee before Super Tuesday on March 5. And, in exactly one week, Haley is scheduled to embark upon a fundraising tour that includes stops in New York, Florida, California and Texas.

Her campaign is also launching a new $4 million advertising campaign in South Carolina that begins Wednesday.

But Trump made clear he’ll go full-out to bury Haley. “She didn’t win — she lost,” he said Tuesday night, slamming Haley’s concession speech. He later posted a message on Truth Social directed at Haley: “NIKKI CAME IN LAST, NOT SECOND!”

Trump was flanked by Haley’s home state Sen. Tim Scott and her antagonist in many of the GOP presidential debates, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, both of whom have endorsed him. He signaled a more punishing approach ahead. “I don’t get mad,” Trump said, “I get even.”


For months, Haley and former Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis offered only muted criticism of the former president, wary of his popularity with the GOP base.

Each was more frontal in attacking him as voting drew nearer, especially Haley in the closing days before New Hampshire. It was too late to help DeSantis, who suspended his campaign Sunday after finishing a distant second in Iowa. This weekend, Haley drew attention to the 77-year-old former president seeming to confuse her and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, directly taking on his mental fitness in ways she’d only vaguely alluded to before.

The punches didn’t land, but Haley continued them Tuesday night, digging again at Trump’s mental fitness during her concession speech. “Most Americans do not want a rematch between Biden and Trump,” Haley said. “The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to be the party that wins this election.”

It was a road not taken until the last minute. Haley doesn’t have a lot of travel time left.


Joe Biden did not put his name on the ballot for the New Hampshire primary. The results are not binding for convention delegates. He won anyway, thanks to an aggressive write-in campaign. Biden muscled the Democratic National Committee into giving South Carolina, the state that set him on a path to the White House with a victory in 2020, the first official party primary. It’s on Feb. 3.

Like Trump, Biden could read good news in the results, with roughly 8 in 10 Democrats approving of his handling of the economy, along with a warning: About half say that, at age 81, he’s too old to run, and about half disapprove of his handling of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, according to AP VoteCast.

Both men are clearly in commanding positions … for a rematch that many voters say they do not want.

United States News

Associated Press

Three former Department of Education employees charged with defrauding Arizona voucher program

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees were indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges in what prosecutors say was a scheme to defraud more than $600,000 from an education voucher program that has drawn criticism for its skyrocketing costs and lax regulation by the state. Prosecutors said Thursday that the three employees approved applications […]

21 minutes ago

Associated Press

EPA to delay rules for some power plants until after November election

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it is delaying planned rules to curb emissions from existing natural gas plants that release harmful air pollutants and contribute to global warming. The agency said it is still on track to finalize rules for coal-fired power plants and new gas plants that have not come […]

42 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge holds veteran journalist Catherine Herridge in civil contempt for refusing to divulge source

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge held veteran investigative reporter Catherine Herridge in civil contempt on Thursday for refusing to divulge her source for a series of stories during her time at Fox News about a Chinese American scientist who was investigated by the FBI but never charged. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington […]

54 minutes ago

President Joe Biden, second from the right, looks over the southern border, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024...

Associated Press

On the Rio Grande, 300 miles apart, Biden and Trump try to use immigration to election advantage

Three hundred miles apart, President Joe Biden and likely Republican challenger Donald Trump walked along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas Thursday.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Maryland State House locked down, armed officers seen responding

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland State House was locked down for an undisclosed security threat late Thursday afternoon. Reporters with officers on the ground floor of the building were told to lock their doors shortly after 5 p.m. by an aide to Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones. About 30 minutes later, police escorted […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Indiana Legislature approves bill adding additional verification steps to voter registration

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers passed legislation Thursday that expands the power of the state to verify voters’ addresses and adds an additional residency requirement for first-time voters. The bill’s Republican sponsor state Sen. Mike Gaskill called it a “commonsense bill” that adds protections against fraud, but voting advocates have blasted the changes as new […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

New Hampshire takeaways: Trump’s path becomes clearer. So does the prospect of a rematch with Biden